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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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New Parents: Five tips for running with baby

Baby care doesn't have to put an end to your running days.

Getting back into a regular exercise routine after having a baby isn’t easy. In addition to all the physical obstacles, you’ve got a wee one demanding most of your time and attention. But exercise can play a crucial role in keeping you mentally sharp, helping you make the most of the hours your baby allots you for sleep at night and keeping your energy level high enough for baby care.

A jogging stroller can be a great way to make post-baby workouts happen. I’ve run for most of my life, but getting comfortable with stroller running took some adjustment. Here are a few tips I’ve gleaned from the trails.

  • Don’t skimp. If you’re going to commit to running with your baby, invest in a good quality jogging stroller. You might want to go to a store to try out different models to see how they work with your height and body size. If you are going to be running, be sure to get a stroller with a front wheel that locks in place. It’s not safe to run with a swivel front wheel. If you plan to also use your stroller for walking, you will probably want the option of switching the front wheel back to swivel mode, as it’s a lot easier to steer the stroller that way.
  • Start slowly. The first time you run with a stroller, you’ll realize it’s harder than it looks. Getting used to turning the stroller with the front wheel locked takes some time, and your body needs to adjust to pushing weight while you’re running. Don’t expect to run the same mile pace you ran without the stroller. Remember that this is new for your baby, also, so don’t expect to get top mileage in on day one.
  • Pay attention. You’ll probably want to leave the music and headphones at home when you go out with your stroller. It’s important to be alert to your surroundings when you’re running with baby, since you need to react quickly to avoid obstacles in your path. Be aware of when recycling and trash pickup days are in the neighborhoods you run through. These days are when you are most likely to run into broken glass on the sidewalks, which can send you to your local bike shop with a flat tire.
  • Form matters. Resist the temptation to lean on the stroller handle and push the stroller way out in front of you, especially when going uphill. Keep the handles pulled in toward your waist and your back straight. This will make sure you keep your core muscles strong, giving you a better workout and saving you from future back pain.
  • Work in some fun. Plan a stop or two along or at the end of your run that’s just for your baby. Maybe a park with swings, or a lake where he can see birds and turtles. That way you’ll both have something to look forward to when it’s time to grab the jogging stroller.

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